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Jackson Hole Student to Present Bee Research at AMK Ranch Aug. 13

August 7, 2015
woman reaching into wooden box on a post outside
Mary Centrella established a mason bee house in a garden in Ithaca, NY. She will discuss her research as part of the weekly Harlow Summer Seminars Thursday, Aug. 13, at the UW-National Park Service Research Center. (Mary Centrella Photo)

A Jackson Hole High School and University of Wyoming graduate will discuss her bee research during the weekly Harlow Summer Seminars Thursday, Aug. 13, at the UW-National Park Service (UW-NPS) Research Center. The center is located at the AMK Ranch in Grand Teton National Park.

Mary Centrella will present “Reading BEE-tween the lines: Honey bees, colony collapse disorder, and the importance of wild bees to agriculture” at 6:30 p.m. at the AMK Ranch, located north of Leeks Marina. A barbecue, at a cost of $5 per person, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. For more information, call the UW-NPS Research Center at (307) 543-2463.

Centrella, a Cornell University doctoral candidate who received her zoology degree from UW and was a 2011 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, says the world relies on bees to pollinate 35 percent of global crops, yet scientists are still learning how to keep bees healthy. In 2009, American honeybee keepers reported colony losses as high as 90 percent.

In her talk, Centrella will discuss the phenomenon known as “Colony Collapse Disorder,” and factors that drive it, including habitat loss, pesticide use, inadequate floral resources and bee management. She will explain how scientists, bee keepers and crop growers are grappling with this multifaceted problem, including solutions that have already been adopted.

In the second part of the talk, Centrella will briefly introduce the biology of the more than 20,000 species of wild bees, their importance to agriculture and her ongoing research on wild bees in Cornell’s laboratories in New York. The latest research that offers solutions to preserve both honeybees and wild bees and the crops they pollinate also will be discussed.

Centrella, who was named one of the UW College of Arts and Sciences’ top graduates in 2013, spent a summer working at the AMK research center as a member of the maintenance staff. At Cornell, she works in the Danforth and Poveda labs in the Department of Entomology. She researches the health of wild bees across agricultural landscapes, and her thesis asks how pesticides and floral diet affect mason bees in New York’s apple orchards.

The UW-NPS Research Center provides a base for university faculty members and government scientists from throughout North America to conduct research in the diverse aquatic and terrestrial environments of Grand Teton National Park and the greater Yellowstone area.

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